How To Sabotage Your Career Networking
by John West Hadley
10 • The Stepping Stone • April 2007
etworking is one of the most impor-
tant activities you can engage in to
advance your career. This is how you
build the contacts that will bring you new op-
portunities, point you to valuable resources
and serve as mentors throughout your career.
And if you are in an active career search, your
network and your ability to use it effectively to
further your search are absolutely critical!
Let’s look at how to make the most of your
career search networking activities. Here are
five common obstacles:
A weak psychology: People respect confi-
dence. Don’t just walk into a networking
situation unprepared. Spend time in advance
setting goals. Imagine the goal you want to
achieve from each networking event, network-
ing call or one-on-one networking meeting.
Then go in confident that you will achieve
The wrong goals: Job seekers often assume
that the point of networking is to find out
whether the other person knows of any open-
ings, and they ask point blank. Even if there is
an appropriate opening in my company, if I’m
not particularly excited about you, if you
haven’t built some real rapport with me, I may
never tell you about it. And a “frontal assault”
is going to make me think long and hard about
how I’m willing to help you.
On the other hand, if you do a good job of
laying the groundwork, describing to me the
package you have to offer, showing your
passion and building the rapport that gets me
to want to help you, I’ll volunteer any
possibilities I may know of.
You should have two primary goals for every
career search networking meeting:
1. Describe the package you have to offer,
and what you are looking for next, so that
I know exactly how to help you.
2. Get referrals to others you can talk to.
This is how you build a growing spider
web of contacts that begins to catch
openings for you.
Asking for help in finding a job: As soon as
you ask me something that smacks